6 Sherlock Holmes adaptations to watch now that ‘Sherlock’ is over

Now that Sherlock is probably over for good (or at least won’t be coming back for a while), here are some Sherlock Holmes adaptations to satisfy those Sherlock cravings.



While Sherlock has received its share of criticism for its mishandling of its female characters and a striking lack of diversity, Elementary excels on both counts. This other modern take on Sherlock Holmes is set in New York with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. One of the more interesting aspects of this adaptation is Joan’s desire to learn from Sherlock. Over the course of five seasons, we see her hone her sleuthing skills and become a detective in her own right. If you need new Sherlock in your life on a regular basis, this is the show for you.


Mr. Holmes


Starring Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes tells a Sherlock Holmes story that hasn’t been told before (at least not outside of fanfiction). It follows a 93-year old Holmes during his retirement as he tries to remember his final case. With his mental state deteriorating, and those closest to him having passed on, this is a thoughtful study of the man behind the mystery.


Young Sherlock Holmes

Paramount Pictures

This film retells the story of Holmes and Watson’s first meeting, having the two meet at school during their teen years. The two students become fast friends and end up solving their first mystery together. The film is part adventure, part mystery, with a fun dose of boarding school antics thrown in. If you’re looking for a Holmes adaptation that has the adventure of an Indiana Jones film with a Hogwarts-esque school as its backdrop, this film will undoubtedly please.

Sherlock Holmes

Warner Bros.

One of the more divisive Holmes adaptations, Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie’s films are slightly more action-packed than some of these other adaptations – which is in no way a bad thing. Watching Downey’s Holmes snake through the streets of Victorian London as Hans Zimmer’s rousing score plays in the background is a treat. And while the film is action heavy, the relationship between Holmes and Watson is the real heart of this film. Downey and Jude Law have excellent chemistry and clearly enjoy these roles. Luckily, there are talks of a third installment in the works!

The Hound of the Baskervilles

20th Century Fox

One of the most well-received adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s gothic mystery is 1939’s The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Basil Rathbone. Surprisingly, this was the first adaptation to set the story during the Victorian period – like Sherlock, other earlier adaptations chose to use a contemporary setting. Rathbone’s performance as the famous detective was more nuanced than previous ones and it more closely resembled the character as he appeared in the source material. He was dark, calculating, and unrelenting, and he set the standard for all future Holmes adaptations.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


Also called Granada Holmes, this 41 episode series ran for ten years, from 1984 to 1994. It starred Jeremy Brett who is widely regarded as the definitive Holmes. He resembles the fictional detective in nearly every way – his sharp features, his gestures, his graceful movements. Benedict Cumberbatch has cited Brett’s performance as one of his influences for his portrayal of Sherlock. He said of the actor: “Even when I was younger I was still struck by this extraordinary hawk-like, magisterial, cold disconnect, and this incredible physique, as well – that wonderful beak of a nose, the swept back hair, the lips and those slightly mad eyes.” If you watch one adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, make it this one. The episodes remain faithful to the source material, the acting is impeccable, the sets are beautiful, particularly 221B, and the music is very evocative of the Victorian period. It’s a feast for the senses.


Let us know some of your favorite Sherlock Holmes adaptations!

(Image: BBC)


Tamar Altebarmakian

Writer, fangirl, and cat-enthusiast. My work has appeared on The Mary Sue, The Portland Review, Ranker, and other websites. My favorite show growing up was Xena – I've tried to emulate the Warrior Princess in every way (see current hairstyle).

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